Taylor Crawford-Williams is impressive in the kitchen and so is her passion for veganism. Just ask any of her chef instructors.
Taylor moved to Delaware just eight months ago from Houston, Texas.
While in Texas she worked as a cosmetologist. She brought those skills to Delaware and attempted to find stable employment. “I tried working in a salon, but we [she and her husband] were about to get married – I needed more stability when it came to income,” she explained.
She heard about The Culinary School and started making phone calls to find out how she could land a spot in the 14-week training program.
“When I was in Houston I used to meal prep for people,” she said. “I had experience already, but with me being new to Delaware, newly married, I was trying to get my feet planted and find a way where I can build here.”
Taylor never imagined having the opportunity to attend a culinary training program. Fortunately, Newark Workforce Training Program Manager Jessica Neal was persistent with working to get Taylor enrolled.
“She called a week or two before the class started to tell me that someone had given me a scholarship,” Taylor explained. “That blew my mind. I had been toying around with going to culinary school, but I didn’t actually think that I would have the opportunity to do it and not have to pay for it.”
Taylor is thankful for the opportunity to attend The Culinary School. In addition to learning new skills, she is also able to share her passion for veganism and wellness.
“It’s been great for me to be able to educate classmates about being vegan,” she said. “…A lot of people don’t know what it is. They want to incorporate more healthy foods, but they don’t know how to. It’s even cool to talk to my classmates and show them you can do this with this… this is meat free and this is dairy free and this is still good.”
“Health is wealth,” she added. “If they are eating healthy things and it is making them feel better, that makes me feel better to know I can contribute to that.”
When Taylor isn’t in class she enjoys doing vegan catering on the side. She is eager to start her internship so she can learn even more about both vegan cooking and the food service industry.
Some of her favorite vegan recipes include spinach and artichoke dip, banana bread and Rotel dip. “For the Rotel dip, I use meat substitute, make my own cheese out of cashes and add a can of rotel. It’s pretty interesting to see that you can get some of the same flavors but not have the main things the other dishes have,” she said.
Taylor admits that being a vegan was not easy in the beginning.
“At first it was pretty boring because I didn’t know how to eat,” she said. “I didn’t know what to eat. I was eating rice and beans. Going to different restaurants and just getting everything without meat, lots of salads and then I was like, ‘Okay, there has to be more. I have to be able to do other things.'”
Taylor went right to Pinterest and started to find recipes to tweak to her liking.
“A lot of the times it’s a matter of taking out regular milk and replacing with almond milk, soy milk or cashew milk and taking out egg and using a banana or flax seed. You can get a lot of different foods using different things that aren’t dairy,” she explained.
The health benefits of Taylor’s lifestyle are paying dividends.
“I have noticed a difference in sleep, acid reflux that I was struggling with, my skin, I had energy,” she said. “This was a direct correlation of what I was putting in my body. Since then I have been an advocate for it, because I have seen it work myself. I have seen my skin clear up, my moods be better.”
In addition to the skills she is learning in the kitchen, Taylor said that in-class topics have been just as valuable. Topics like financial literacy and nutrition have also been helpful.
Since starting class, Taylor is more resourceful in the kitchen. “Food is money so we have to take and reincorporate things versus throwing them away. At home it pushes me to be a little more creative in the kitchen,” she explained.
For students considering The Culinary School, Taylor’s advice, “Do it.”
“It definitely takes some perseverance for sure because it’s not easy,” she said. “It takes discipline. It takes passion, because if you are just doing it for something to do you won’t last. If you are passionate about it, you will make it through, because you will remember why you started and what goal it is you are pressing towards.”
Taylor’s end goals are to cater more, own a small business and educate people about veganism and healthy eating.
“In order to do that I need to be equipped with the skills that I need. Sticking it out here will get me the skills that I need to be able to move forward,” she said. “The opportunities are endless when you are done with the program.”
Interested in a career in the food service industry? The next class of The Culinary School in Newark and Milford begins Monday, January 22. Apply today and start 2018 with a new career! Click here to learn more!